Thursday, June 25, 2015

Read: A Kung Fu Western

Immediately following my reading of Enter the Dragon, I picked up Sloane #1 "The Man with the Iron Fists" and dug in.  And I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot.

The Good:  The writing was pretty top-notch.  Especially when you consider this book falls into the general "Men's Adventure" category of modern Pulp Fiction.  It's a western, and while the narrative often lacked L'Amour's poetry, it did a good job of placing the reader smack dab in the old west.  The action was pretty exciting, the characters believable (more or less) and interesting, and the sex-scenes were tastefully presented.  The plot is a standard Revenge plot, with the boy growing up to avenge the wrongful deaths of his Ma and Pa.  But, the writer (or writers, as it turns out) delivers this tried and true archetypal story with originality and flair.  Interestingly, the entire time I was reading it, I could picture watching every detail play out on the big screen.  I'd love to see a movie adaptation.

The Bad:  As with Enter the Dragon, the martial arts scenes sometimes got a bit campy and wuxia.  Although in Sloane they were somewhat restrained by comparison.  Some of the details were a bit much, such as our hero wearing a white suit (that, thankfully, showed its wear and tear throughout the novel), and the fact that, despite his pretty sheltered upbringing, Tod Sloane showed a lot of worldliness.  But really, my only "complaint" was the final deaths of two of the biggest (one physically) villains.  They were both way over-the-top, and I would have preferred to see them dispatched in less hokey ways.

The Verdict:  I would give this book a solid 7/10.  Well worth the read, and I am looking forward to the second book. 

Interestingly, in doing some research, it appears that the two books I have were the only ones published by Pinnacle in 1974/75 (sadly, the series didn't catch on).  There is rumored to be a third, unpublished book, and all three are supposed be getting re-released as Kindles soon.


Paul R. McNamee said...

Pinnacle appear to have been an eclectic publisher/imprint. I have Doctor Who novelizations from them, but they were also publishing August Derleth's Sherlock Holmes clone, Solar Pons, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Don't know that I've even seen these.